Tuesday, December 1, 2009

FEATURED SWEETHEART - Cynthia Leitich Smith

THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS are proud to announce that Cynthia Leitich Smith is the first FEATURED SWEETHEART. Cynthia is a busy, talented writer who always makes time to reach out to others, and she generously offers advice and encouragement. We’re so honored to know Cynthia and to call her friend!

Cynthia’s blog

Cynthia’s website

Cynthia, you've been a mentor to so many! Who would you consider your mentor?

When I first started writing seriously for publication, authors Kathi Appelt and Jane Kurtz both provided me with a great deal of advice and encouragement. I also took a couple of multi-day classes from her at her husband's family ranch. It’s in large part because of Kathi and Jane's professional models that I write in such a wide range of age markets and formats. Today, I consider them both dear friends.

With all the time you spend writing, revising, promoting, teaching, traveling, and breathing, how do you STILL find time to be the advocate for so many authors?

There are four of me, and one is an insomniac. No, seriously, I’m just doing what comes naturally. With so much talent in writing for youth, how could I possibly resist cheering it?

What keeps you motivated to keep serving the children's literature community?

I like the company, and I’m blessed to be based in Austin, Texas—a boisterous and booming youth writing community with amazing voices and many fine leaders.

What's the best way writers can reach out to one another in such an (often) isolated career?

Show up! The children’s-YA writing community is very welcoming, but you have to extend a hand in turn, whether it be online in the kidlitosphere or in person at community events. Blog, comment, take a class, offer to speak, volunteer, throw a get-together, offer lunch.

What piece of advice can you give to a writer who's chomping at the bit to get published?

Focus first, last, and always on craft. When in doubt, take a well-recommended class, read a terrific book, stretch yourself in a new direction.

Thank you so much, Cynthia, for taking the time to be our Featured Sweetheart!

The Official bio:
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the award-winning author of JINGLE DANCER, INDIAN SHOES and RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (all HarperCollins). Her more recent titles are a picture book, SANTA KNOWS (Scholastic Book Club), and two young adult fantasy novels, TANTALIZE and ETERNAL (both Candlewick). She is a member of faculty at the Vermont College M.F.A. program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her website at www.cynthialeitichsmith.com was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer's Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ was listed as among the top two read by the children's/YA publishing community in the SCBWI "To Market" column.


  1. Yay! I love Cyn! Great choice for you first featured sweetheart!